|Everyone gathered for the rosary before the procession|
Our Holy Week started earlier than usual with our first procession occurring on the Friday one week before Good Friday. We had never heard of this before but in our town they called it a procession for Mary as she prepared for the passion and death of her Son. We all met in the church at 7 p.m.for a rosary with the procession immediately following. This procession was very well attended thanks to the local high school teacher offering a point to each child that attended the procession!
After the rosary, the children were selected to carry the beautifully decorated statue of Mary all through the "Centro Plaza" in San Hilarion. Each person carried a lit candle and many of the schoolkids had made candle holders out of 2 liter soda bottles and painted them in very beautiful designs. It was a sight to behold. Everyone processed behind Mary and sang beautiful Marian hymns.
Each night of Holy Week had a different procession with a different statue decorated with different flowers and plants and a different reflection with different songs to sing each night.
|Good Friday - daytime procession|
Good Friday was a little different because we had an additional procession during the daytime where we processed all throughout the town 2 by 2 and took turns carrying the cross. The whole procession lasted about 2 hours and I was able to learn a few new tunes to accompany the singing on guitar while Jack played the drum.
We were blessed to have Padre Leopoldo visit San Hilarion for the Veneration of the Cross. Padre Leopoldo and I held the cross while each person came up and kissed it. Michael also helped hold the cross and Jack wiped the cross after each kiss. This was followed by a special custom that has developed in our town which is a reflection on "The 3 Nails". A well-rehearsed team of men dressed in white ascended ladders and essentially took Jesus down from the cross by disassembling it with a reflection for each nail, crown of thorns, etc. and delivered each part to Mary on a silver platter. It was another new and beautiful custom to experience! The night wrapped up with another procession around the plaza with a reflection on "The Last 7 Words of Our Lord". Each station where we stopped was lit up and decorated very elaborately!
|Here is the church before "The 3 Nails" reflection|